New Magellanic Cloud R Coronae Borealis and DY Persei type stars from the EROS-2 database: the connection between RCBs, DYPers, and ordinary carbon stars *,**
Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, Cotter Rd, Weston Creek ACT 2611, Australia e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 CEA, DSM, DAPNIA, Centre d'Études de Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
3 Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, UMR7095 CNRS, Universite Pierre & Marie Curie, 98 bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
4 Laboratoire de l'Accélérateur Linéaire, IN2P3 CNRS, Université de Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France
5 The Niels Bohr Institute, Astronomy Group, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
6 Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, UMR 5572, 14 avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
7 Department of Astronomy, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
8 Observatoire de Marseille, 2 place Le Verrier, 13248 Marseille Cedex 04, France
9 European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
10 LPNHE, IN2P3 CNRS and Universités Paris 6 & Paris 7, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
Accepted: 7 May 2009
Context. R Coronae Borealis stars (RCB) are a rare type of evolved carbon-rich supergiant stars that are increasingly thought to result from the merger of two white dwarfs, called the Double degenerate scenario. This scenario is also studied as a source, at higher mass, of type Ia Supernovae (SnIa) explosions. Therefore a better understanding of RCBs composition would help to constrain simulations of such events.
Aims. We searched for and studied RCB stars in the EROS Magellanic Clouds database. We also extended our research to DY Per type stars (DYPers) that are expected to be cooler RCBs ( K) and much more numerous than their hotter counterparts. With the aim of studying possible evolutionary connections between RCBs and DYPers, and also ordinary carbon stars, we compared their publically available broad band photometry in the optical, near, and mid-infrared.
Methods. The light curves of ~70 millions stars, monitored for 6.7 years (from July 1996 to February 2003), have been analysed to search for the main signature of RCBs and DYPers: a large (up to 9 mag) drop in luminosity. Carbon stars with fading episodes were also found by inspecting numerous light curves of objects that presented an infrared excess in the 2MASS and Spitzer- SAGE and S3MC databases. Follow-up optical spectroscopy was used to confirm each photometric candidate found.
Results. We have discovered and confirmed 6 new Magellanic Cloud RCB stars and 7 new DYPers, but also listed new candidates: 3 RCBs and 14 DYPers. Optical and infrared colour magnitude diagrams that give new insights into these two sets of stars are discussed. We estimated a range of Magellanic RCB shell temperatures between 360 and 600 K.
Conclusions. We confirm the wide range of absolute luminosity known for RCB stars, to –2.6. Our study further shows that mid-infrared surveys are ideal to search for RCB stars, since they have thinner and cooler circumstellar shells than classical post-AGB stars. In addition, by increasing the number of known DYPers by ~400%, we have been able to shed light on the similarities in the spectral energy distribution between DYPers and ordinary carbon stars. We also observed that DYPer circumstellar shells are fainter and hotter than those of RCBs. This suggests that DYPers may simply be ordinary carbon stars with ejection events, but more abundance analysis is necessary to give a status on a possible evolutionnary connexion between RCBs and DYPers.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: carbon / supergiants / Magellanic Clouds
© ESO, 2009